Homemade Chicken Apple Sausage

June 16, 2014 in Breakfast

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Homemade sausage lettuce wraps for breakfast. 

Home made chicken sausage

Chicken Sausage Lettuce Wraps

When I thought about the term “homemade sausage,” I thought of meat grinders, casings and spending hours and hours in the kitchen. Turns out, none of this is true. Sausage is fun and easy to make. Turns out, you can make sausage with a food processor in minutes.

When my favorite grocery store was out of my usual favorite – their own store-made chicken sausage – I decided to try my very first foray into making sausage at home. Just chill your meat really well (part frozen is best!) and cut it into chunks. Then, you just pulse everything in your processor until the meat is in tiny bits. It is a revelation, I tell you!

I added both fennel and sage, because those are two classic “sausage” tastes, in my kitchen at least. You could pretty much use any of your favorite spices or herbs.

And, chicken needs just a little fat added to the mix, so I used pancetta, which is mostly fat. If you choose beef or pork , you could probably skip the added fat. Whatever ingredients you use, this sausage has so much less fat and artificial ingredients than most store bought sausages.

Since this is so much easier than I thought it would be, I plan to make sausages again and again, trying out different meats and veggies and spices. I highly HIGHLY recommend this to you as a fun kitchen adventure!

– posted by Donna

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Egg Foo Young Quiche

June 12, 2014 in Dairy-Free, Entrees, Gluten Free, Healthy Fare

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The classic Chinese pancake in quiche form.

Egg Foo Young Quiche - GF/CF Paleo

Egg Foo Young Quiche

I was a latecomer to appreciating Egg Foo Young, but have recently been enjoying  the version in Nom Nom Paleo‘s cookbook – totally won me over. After making it a few times, our backyard chickens blessed us with a surfeit of fresh eggs, and I was eager to use them in a quiche. The idea struck! And turned out fabulously, if I daresay.

You could use the crust of your choice, of course; I decided to make mine with cashew flour and sesame seeds for complementary flavors. Read the rest of this entry →

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Kale Apple and Toasted Walnut Salad

June 8, 2014 in Appetizers, Healthy Fare, Side Dishes, Vegan Recipes

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Kale, Apples and Walnuts in a (creamless) creamy walnut dressing.

Kale Apple Walnut Salad

Make it ’cause it’s healthy. Eat it ’cause it’s YUM.

Walnuts? In June? I know, walnuts are often thought of as a fall ingredient, but they are available year round and add an amazing toasted taste and crunch to a salad. So. They can be a summer food, too.

We are joining the California Walnut Vistual Salad Party with other bloggers this week, so be sure to check out the other recipes at walnut.org

I have been a huge walnut fan for the last 12 years. Walnuts are one of the healthiest things you can put in your mouth, especially with heart health. Since my husband had a severe heart attack in 2002, I have made an effort to get lots of walnuts into our diet. We even make walnut butter, and yes, I know, a little over the top – but it’s YUMMY, and easy to do in your handy food processor. Just toast and then whirl with a little oil.

I fell in love with Aida Mollencamp’s Kale, Apple and Walnut Salad. I was especially intrigued with the [creamless] Creamy Walnut Dressing. It is so delicious you will want to eat the dressing with a spoon. I left out the pancetta and made the salad vegan. Another change I made was to toast the walnuts to give them a more intense flavor. NOTE: Do not skip the toasting of the walnuts – this totally transforms their taste and their texture. Just spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees, or until they are fragrant and browned.

– posted by Donna 

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Easy DIY Ice Cream Sandwiches

June 7, 2014 in Desserts

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Turn any ice cream into an ice cream sandwich in minutes.

Ice Cream Sandwiches

If you have time to scoop ice cream into a bowl, you have time to make these.

So it turns out ice cream sandwiches are really, really easy to make with one shortcut: graham crackers.

The chocolate graham crackers are perfect for this – and so many ice cream possibilities exist. You can literally put these together in five minutes and then stash them in the freezer while you are eating dinner - and shazaaam! – ice cream sandwiches with your very favorite ice cream.

I found a cherry cobbler ice cream at the store and let it sit out on the counter for about 10 minutes to soften. Then I chopped up a few cherries and threw them in, too. Next, just layer chocolate graham crackers on a baking sheet so there are no gaps. Spread the ice cream about 2 inches thick, Press another layer of graham crackers on top, pressing to remove any air bubbles. Then, freeze for a while (I froze them about 20 minutes), until firm. Remove from freezer and cut into sandwich shapes.

Don’tcha love summer???

– posted by Donna

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Chicken Shawarma Salad with Garlic Lemon Dressing

June 5, 2014 in Dairy-Free, Entrees, Gluten Free, Healthy Fare

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Easy Summer Salad Jar du Jour.

Chicken Shawarma with Lemon Garlic Dressing: In salad jar form and plated.  #paleo

Chicken Shawarma with Lemon Garlic Dressing: In salad jar form and plated.

This is my new addiction for the late spring/early summer – I plan on making a batch at least once a week for the foreseeable future. Like many food bloggers, we frequently start out with an existing recipe as a starting point and riff on it, making our own variations. Sometimes the end result is still recognizably related to the original, and sometimes you end up with a whole new dish. Today, it’s a little bit of both.

A friend had recently raved about the chicken shawarma recipe by Tori Avey, and I was eager to test it out. Well, folks, I’m not going to make any effort to change this, I’m just going to point you directly to the source. It’s that good. My ONE chance was sauteing the chicken in step 2 in a tablespoon of coconut oil rather than olive, because that’s the way I prefer to saute, but that’s it. Why mess with what is essentially perfection?

Where I diverged: rather than serving it with tahini sauce, I preferred to eat it with a lemon garlic sauce that is often served on shawarma and gyros. And of course, as with almost all salads these days, I decided to put it in jar form. I think the cucumber and tomatoes go perfectly here. Depending on how tightly you pack it all in, it makes either 3 or 4 salad jars, all ready to go for your next few lunches.

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Melon Slices with Lemon Walnut Gremolata

June 3, 2014 in Side Dishes, Vegan Recipes

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Melon slices just got a whole lot more interesting.

Melon Slices with Lemon Walnut Gremolata

Melon slices with a lemony walnut gremolata topping.

Summer brings delicious sweet juicy melon, which can be a little boring at times. But then, I saw a brilliant idea to make plain old melon slices a little more sophisticated on one of my favorite food blogs, The Perfect Pantry. Lydia’s Melon with a Peanut topping looked so intriguing, I had to try my own spin.

This topping with walnuts, lemon zest and mint is so delicious you will be tempted to just skip the melon and eat the topping out of a bowl with a spoon. It has crunch, it has zip and it has tang – a perfect match for the sweet soft melon goodness.

Classic Italian gremolata has three ingredients: parsley, lemon zest and garlic. Italians use it to add zip to most any savory dish. The same concept is used with this sweet walnut gremolata – it adds zip and texture to the melon slices. Or pretty much any fruit salad you can dream up.

Happy Melon Season, everyone!

– posted by Donna

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Quickles – Quick Garlic Pickles Recipe

June 1, 2014 in Appetizers, Condiments, Snacks

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Sassy and crunchy pickles – pronto.

Quick Pickles

Crunchy and sassy pickles you can make in minutes.

Home made pickles are surprisingly easy to make. Just pickle them in the fridge – not on the stove top – and you’ll be amazed at how easy, fresh and crunchy they are. These beauties take just a few minutes of prep time and are ready in just 2 hours of chilling.

I have tried for more than 30 years to find a pickle recipe that is easy and also has the perfect balance of flavors and textures – and THIS it it.

I followed the basic recipe of Mountain Mama Cooks Refrigerator Pickles, with a few tweaks of my own. I added just a bit of sugar to give the sour just a little sweet balance. And I added in some sliced red jalapeños for a touch of heat.

Perfect nosh for your next picnic!

– Posted by Donna

 

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Chocolate Hazelnut Berry Shortcakes

May 27, 2014 in Desserts

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Strawberry Shortcake – with chocolate hazelnut upgrade.

Chocolate Hazelnut Shortcakes

Berry Shortcake – Chocolate Hazelnut Edition

Two classic warm-weather desserts are weaknesses for me – one is peach cobbler and the other is strawberry shortcake. I could literally eat half of a 9 by 13 of peach cobbler by myself – and a whole tray of strawberry shortcakes. And since chocolate and strawberries are a match made in heaven, why not chocolate shortcakes?

Many of the recipes I found for chocolate shortcakes involved melting chocolate in double boilers, etc., but using a spread skips this step and makes this recipe so much simpler.

And I have now found out that adding chocolate hazelnut spread takes shortcake to a whole new level of deliciousness.

These shortcakes are like chocolate biscuits – just crispy enough to soak up the berry juices. And rich chocolate is the perfect match for sweet fresh berries.

The perfect summer dessert!

 – posted by Donna

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Cauliflower Ricotta Style Spread

May 23, 2014 in Appetizers

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Cauliflower “ricotta” spread even cauliflower haters will love.

Cauliflower Spread

Now here’s a cauliflower recipe everyone can love.

If you think you hate cauliflower, think again.This recipe is coming to you from a person who hates cauliflower: ME.

Oh, sure. I have tried to like it. After all it is one of the healthiest things you can put in your mouth. And lately, there has been an explosion of cauliflower rice recipes on the world wide web.

My co-blogger/daughter Anne has set the bar pretty high for cauliflower creations. Just a few: Cauliflower Rice Sushi, Green Goddess Cauliflower Rice, and Lemon Pesto Chicken Cauliflower Rice. Seriously creative.

And then there was this recipe a few days ago: Fried Cauliflower Rice with Shrimp, Sugar Peas and Red Pepper by the fabulous Kalyn at Kalyn’s Kitchen. This recipe (MUST try asap!) put me over the edge – I had to try making something out-of-the-box creative with cauliflower!

So, I decided to experiment with a recipe that is a spread – and turns cauliflower into a type of “ricotta.” This spread is so delicious and perfect for topping crostini or scooping up with veggies. And you can smugly pat yourself on the back for eating something that tastes decadent, but gets more cruciferous veggies into your diet. Win/Win!

–posted by Donna

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Mother’s Day Apron Giveaway Winner!

May 22, 2014 in Contests and Carnivals and Roundups

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Thanks to all who participated in our giveaway with Flirty Aprons! The randomly-chosen winner is . . .

YB!

Email us at ourapronstrings @ gmail [dot] com for instructions. Congrats and enjoy!

 

- Donna and Anne

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